In the beginning – the VERY beginning – the Ten Things of Thankful were used as justification to continue to the next day.
I was in my late teens, coming gradually out of the darkness and misery of bullying and abuse from what felt like all corners (in reality it was only home and school, but that was sufficient). I was mentally and emotionally spent, finding safety in dreams and wishing for death because it seemed preferable (if not easier) to quit than struggle onwards, towards a future which seemed as bleak as the past.
Last weekend I got flashbacked, quite suddenly, to some of the times before those years – before I decided if I thought about it and could pick JUST TEN things which I liked about the day, I would choose to give tomorrow a try. The before-years were just about keeping my head down and surviving. Existing, because I had to, and because it was expected. No imagination to try to escape, just resignation and acceptance that somehow this misery was all I was worth, because for so many years, no-one tried to change it for me, and goodness knows *I* didn’t know how.
I remembered many awful things, which upset me and left me crying and in meltdown-mode. Since then, I’ve talked more about those years, and have discovered that whilst I was going through them, I didn’t talk. Damn right I didn’t talk – I think by then I’d learned that my pain was something to be scored points with. My hurt brought happiness to others. I didn’t want to give the satisfaction. And I didn’t want to make it all worse with intervention – being the weak little wussybaby who cried to her mummy and needed rescuing.
I *did* need rescuing though. I learned this week that with disappointingly regular frequency (though for less harrowing reasons) I *still* need rescuing. I need my hand held and the next steps pointed out to me. I need boosting, ootzing, cajoling and encouraging. I am the epitome of the reluctant, anxious pre-walker, who you know full well CAN step out by themself, but just hasn’t got the confidence yet, and refuses to try.
The Ten Things of Thankful returned when, in the midst of intensely challenging personal circumstances, I lost a baby, very early on. Followed a few months later by another. I couldn’t see my way to any kind of future which would be good and worthwhile, so I reverted to finding my Ten every day, bargaining that if they existed, I would continue to tomorrow and see if there were another Ten.
There always were, and supported by good and wonderful people, who had encouraged me in the seeking of Ten Things of Thankful, and who had taken inspiration and sometimes begun to find their own Tens, the hop was founded, that each week, we all might reflect on the things in our life which make it worth living.
They’re always there, even when they’re really really hard won.
Today, though, my Ten deal with the future, because this week really hasn’t been one worth looking back on. It’s been full of bad feels and low moments, bereft of sunshine and sans glitter. And it was COLD. It’s still cold, but I can see the daylight glimmering ever brighter at each end of the day, and I know each day that passes brings us closer to the bright, golden days of summer; of bone-drenching heat and skin-shimmering glory; of long, lazy nights outside and the sound of the blackbirds still singing us goodnight at 10pm; of bees buzzing merrily about their work, and the scent of hot tarmac mixing with brilliant floral notes from the gorgeous arrays in people’s front gardens. My favourite season WILL return, sooner than I think.
But before, amidst, around and beyond that, there are Thankfuls.
I’m thankful I managed to register with a dentist over the phone this morning, who arranged an appointment for me on Monday evening to have a check-up and get a surgical referral to have at least one wisdom tooth extracted. That will be SUCH a relief to have done (and sub-grat items include the low cost of all the treatment, thanks to the NHS, and that I can just stroll into comprehensive dental support with such ease).
I’m thankful there is a glorious month-by-month breakdown of the Things I Must Do before my plan to move to Murica is possible. I’m HUGELY lucky to have WonderAunty as my project manager, and my friends H and S as supporters, co-paperworkers, and business-model-dummy-run-volunteers.
I’m VERY thankful (and excited) that I get to return to the US next month (SO SOON!) to establish work roots and see a few people. I’m so very fortunate to have people who want to see me; to have the time and means to go see them; to even have stumbled across such amazing humans in this World Between the Wires, and to have earned their friendship…I’m humbled and honoured and INCREDIBLY thankful.
I’m thankful for all the possibilities and opportunities my US move (when it eventually happens) will bring – for meeting friends I’ve only known online; for re-meeting friends I’ve met before; for work; for personal growth; for perseverance and hope and business and the success of even having TRIED.
I’m thankful to exist in a time of this world when people seem to be making and cherishing connections across vast distances; for the technological advances which allow close relationships to be maintained and nurtured in spite of Geography; for a world which is so much more linked up, and which is becoming more aware of (and more compassionate towards) those humans less fortunate, or in need. I’m always thankful for movements and organisations which support the thriving of those who struggle. I’m thankful these important institutions are being given ever more credence and endorsement.
I’m thankful for the far-off future, and the idea that those people will one day look back on our generations as the time when their future began. I hope they’re pleased with the choices we make…I hope we realise our responsibilities in choosing! I suspect there will always be visionaries who want to improve the world, and I’m thankful to know some in the here and now, who just want the world to be better, more nurturing, and more filled with compassion, empathy, and wonder. I’m thankful for Our Land, which is the model for such a place, and for 1000Speak (next Wednesday), which aims to write into the world with healing, compassion, and togetherness.
I’m thankful for tomorrow, when I will see Niece and Neff, and hope to get a game of Scrabble in with mum. I’m thankful for big changes in the offing. I’m thankful for a few minutes hence, when I will hit publish and go to make myself a cup of tea, and see who’s around on the Bloggy VidChat (Fridays, timed *something* depending on your timezone).
I’m thankful for all my Tens, and that I’m still here to enjoy them, and to survey the movement which began when someone, expanding on my humble beginnings, remarked “Hey, this is something I think a lot of people would like to join in with…” (or words to that effect).
I’m thankful for you, here, reading this, wondering whether/how to participate. Even if you don’t have a list of Ten, just say hi, and think of some of the good things you’ve got going on in life, and share them, so we can celebrate together. I’m looking forward to that.